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TOP OF MIND TODAY…
► President Trump will deliver his first speech to a joint session of Congress on Tuesday, and as the Washington Post reports, Trump will be rolling out some fuzzy maths:
President Trump will propose a federal budget that dramatically increases defense-related spending by $54 billion while cutting other federal agencies by the same amount, according to an administration official.
The proposal represents a massive increase in federal spending related to national security, while other priorities, especially foreign aid, will see significant reductions.
According to the White House, the defense budget will increase by 10 percent. But without providing any specifics, the administration said that most other discretionary spending programs will be slashed to pay for it. Officials singled out foreign aid, one of the smallest parts of the federal budget, saying it would see “large reductions” in spending.
► Senator Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) is proving to be very popular…in cardboard form. As Congress returns to “work” after its President’s Day recess, the buzz surrounding Gardner’s constituent indifference is only growing louder. Multiple media outlets covered Friday’s “town hall” event in Denver that was staged without the freshman Senator. Here’s more from the Denver Post:
Coloradans packed Byers Middle School gym and cafeteria Friday evening for a town hall event to ask Republican U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner questions regarding issues such as health care, climate change and immigration.
Gardner, who did not attend the event, was represented by a large cardboard cutout…
…many town hall attendees said they have not been able to get in touch with Gardner and feel he has been unresponsive. Christine Robinson, of Parker, said she has called his office twice a day for the last month and has protested or visited his office in Denver five times without any answers to her questions.
“I am not a paid protester,” she said while waiting in line, which wrapped around the block of the middle school. “We’re here to send a loud message — to listen to us. He does not want to.”
► Democrats are feeling increasingly optimistic about the chances of winning several races for Governor — including in Colorado — in 2018. From the Washington Post:
As the chairman-elect of the Democratic Governors Association, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee will quarterback his party’s efforts in next year’s gubernatorial contests. To say he’s bullish would be an understatement. “Democrats are going to crawl across broken glass on their knees to go vote in 2018, if the conditions exist as they do today,” Inslee said during an interview yesterday afternoon at the J.W. Marriott, before he headed to the White House for a black-tie gala hosted by President Trump…
…No one can predict what the political environment will be a year-and-a-half from now, but historically the president’s party loses seats in his first midterm.
Even if Trump was a generic Republican, which he is most certainly not, the terrain was already going to be quite favorable for Democrats. They have just 16 governorships, a dozen fewer than when Barack Obama took office.
In a separate story, the Post discusses the “hold your nose” view of President Trump that may prove to be a significant barrier for re-election in 2020. As the New York Times notes, we should get the first sense of the power of an anti-Trump strategy in the Virginia Governor’s race.
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